Celebrity chefs, restaurateurs promise to transform local dining scene
For a lot of big-city restaurant folks, Palm Beach County is the new shiny object gleaming in their eyes. In the past couple of weeks alone, I’ve spoken to two celebrity chefs and restaurateurs from other states who are opening or have opened restaurants here.
Michelin-starred chef Akira Back just debuted a new, self-named spot at The Ray hotel in Delray Beach’s Pineapple Grove district. The former snowboarder told me “relaxed” Delray reminds him of a chill mountain town and found it an ideal setting for his “fun” cuisine.
Just yesterday, Midtown Manhattan’s Blue Dog Cookhouse and Bar opened an ambitious new outpost in Boca. In New York, The Blue Dog is a popular brunch spot in the theater district. There will be a daily brunch in Boca as well, but also dinner service that’s “far more elevated” than that of the flagship restaurant.
“The plan is to mirror that back to New York once we have it in full force,” The Blue Dog’s founder and operator, Elizabeth Slavutsky, told me.
Earlier this week, I spoke to iconic New York chef David Burke, who revealed he was opening a modern American brasserie on the Lake Park waterfront. Yes, the sleepy Lake Park waterfront. The not-yet-named restaurant will be part of the Nautilus 220 luxury residential complex.
“When I was driving through that area, when I first looked at the site, I thought, ‘It’ll be a challenge in the beginning,’” Burke told me Monday. “We’ll be pioneers, I guess, the first in that area with a world-class restaurant.”
That may be true for Lake Park, but by the time his Nautilus restaurant debuts in June 2024, north county in general could be splashier than it is today. Palm Beach Gardens restaurants like chef Pushkar Marathe’s Stage Kitchen, the new PGA National Resort restaurants by star chefs Lindsay Autry and Jeremy Ford and established hot spots like chef Tim Lipman’s Coolinary have given the local dining scene destination status.
Just to the north, restaurateur and consultant Stephen Asprinio has helped shape Jupiter’s fine dining scene with his creative work on 1000 North and the three Charlie and Joe’s at Love Street restaurants. Most recently, the Wellington-raised former “Top Chef” star opened his own restaurant, the stylish AquaGrille in Juno Beach.
It’s all happening quickly on the county’s dining landscape, the buzz and expansion dreams, all of it. How will it unfold? Watch this space.
In other tasty news…
Happy National Empanada Day
I’d be remiss if I didn’t wish my fellow hand pie fans a happy Empanada Day today. Here’s hoping you’ll find the perfect, dough-wrapped pocket of happiness. I put together this quick-five list of places to find tasty empanadas. These are not all my favorites, but they’re a start. Did I miss your go-to spot? Drop me a line at [email protected].
Every-bunny, listen up
The Easter bunny must have impeccable taste when it comes to baked goods. He’ll make a stop two Saturdays in a row at the Hive for Kids shop inside the Hive Home, Gift & Gardens store. He heard there will be fresh cookies for children of all ages from the fab new Hive Bakery, located just steps away. The Easter Bunny’s visit to Hive happens from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 9 and 16. You can register for this free event here.
And for the big weekend in Delray Beach…
Lunch or dinner and a show
Headed to the 60th annual Delray Affair arts and crafts show this weekend? It kicked off at 10 a.m. today and runs through Sunday along Atlantic Avenue in downtown Delray. If you’re looking for a good spot to grab a bite or drink within walking distance, here are some favorites:
Jamón Jamón – A tiny tapas bar in the middle of the Delray Beach Market food hall. Grab a seat at the bar for good wines, excellent ham, cheeses and Spanish tapería vibe.
Rose’s Daughter – A cozy, Italian-American spot with good pizza and small plates by chef Suzanne Perrotto, who also owns Brule Bistro just down the street from there. Her food is excellent and the vibe is usually very “neighborhood favorite.” Ditto for Brule Bistro.
Papa’s Tapas – A family-owned tapas restaurant across from Brule Bistro. Papa is a Spaniard and Mama hails from the Dominican Republic. The menu reflects the mingling of their roots, offering classic tapas and some island flavor thrown in. Excellent homemade sangria, empanadas and paella.
El Camino – A super-popular Mexican spot with good tacos and other bites, plus crafty drinks and plenty of tequila. On Northeast 2nd Ave.
Elisabetta’s – The popular ristorante’s original location is on Atlantic Ave and it’s quite good. The menu is huge, so maybe enjoy some starters while you peruse it. Or maybe just order appetizers – they’re my favorite part of Elisabetta’s menu.
Amar Mediterranean Bistro – This cozy, Lebanese-inspired spot has a pita oven and lots of shareable dishes for lovers of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food.
The Wine Room Kitchen and Bar – This popular wine bar and restaurant just made Yelp’s “Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S.” list. It has a self-pour wine system and cheffy dishes.
Have a delicious weekend!
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Newsletter: Celebrity chefs promise to transform local dining scene